On this MLK day, we think of service. Dr. King said, “Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve.” How can we be of service? The President often speaks of being of service and so we pause and ask ourselves how we can be of service to others?
There is always a place that can use our ample hands, willing hearts and expertise in some area. There are so many ways to be of service. When we think of a loved one who is feeling under the weather, we can give them a cheery phone call. We can talk about light and humorous things to help take their minds off of what is bothering them. For a brief time, they can laugh and not think about their bodies or what ails them.
Speaking and acknowledging another person’s presence is a form of service. We all know how a snub makes us feel; so a mere ‘hello’ costs us absolutely nothing. Sharing a smile can light up someone’s day. We never know what feelings others may be harboring. This lets the other person know that they matter and this too is a form of service.
Helping an elderly person carry his or her groceries up some stairs is another form of service. Or, we could knock on an elderly neighbor’s door to see if they are okay and make sure that they have everything that they need. We could clean the snow off of the elderly or ill neighbor’s car after cleaning off our own car. We are outside anyway. Or, if we are going to the grocery store, we could see if they need any basic necessities to make it until they go on their major shopping spree.
It is the small acts of kindness that truly equate service. It may be something as simple as pulling up a little closer to the vehicle in front while parking on the street, to make sure the driver behind can get out with a level of ease. We could offer to watch a neighbor’s toddler, while he or she cleans the snow off of the vehicle. Simply holding the door for the person that is behind us is a form of service. We all have a peripheral vision and can usually see, hear or sense when someone is in close proximity.
Giving someone an encouraging word is a gem that is rarely forgotten. People remember the small kindnesses. Though others may appear to be handling their personal affairs, an extra dose of kindled love never hurts. Their spirits may be high, but a good word can bounce those feelings even higher. We all need to be assured from time to time that things will in fact ‘be okay.’
“It is the service we are not obliged to give that people value most.” James Cash Penney
Lynn January 19, 2015